Your Veterinarian relies on you too closely monitor your pet for warning signs that something might be wrong with your furry friend. A dog’s skin, hair, nails, eyes, ears and teeth all provide a glimpse of our pet’s overall health. Keeping up with a regular grooming routine with your pet, not only ensures cleanliness, but frequent at-home grooming is also beneficial to your pet’s health. Developing a regular grooming routine will help you create a stronger bond with your dog, catch potential issues swiftly, and score major brownie points at your next vet visit!
Be Aware of Skin Changes
Changes in your dog’s skin will occur over the years and these changes can be perfectly normal due to aging, but some changes may not. If your dog’s skin is very dry or very greasy, if there is an odor or your pet develops sores or hotspots, you may need to call your vet. Certain symptoms can be caused by allergies, some by parasites, thyroid problems, pigment changes and skin cancers. If you have a regular grooming routine you will know your dog’s skin, and know the difference between when your dog needs a bath or your vet’s attention. Need some bathing tips? Don’t know how to choose the right shampoo? Learn more here.
Check for Lumps and Bumps
According to WebMD cancer is the leading cause of death in dogs over the age of 10, but half of all cancers are curable if caught early, experts say. Palpating the body from head to toe is part of a thorough vet exam, but it’s easy to miss a tiny lump or bump when the patient is moving around a lot and covered in hair. AND, if your routine examination is once or twice a year and your vet does discover a suspicious lump, it is difficult to know how long it’s been there or whether it has grown or changed in size. Keeping up with brushing and trimming your dog’s hair at home will help you detect a new or developing growth on your pet, and with cancer, early detection makes all the difference.
Fleas and Ticks
As pet owners we all fear these gross little parasites. Fleas have the strength in numbers, when undetected they can become more then just gross, they can become dangerous to your pet’s health. Besides the itchiness and discomfort of a flea infestation, dogs suffering from a flea allergy can develop rashes, lesions and skin infections. Many dogs with fleas end up with tapeworms when they swallow a parasite while chewing at their itchy skin. Outdoor Protection is so important when you and your pet are enjoying the great outdoors. As for ticks, just one tick can transmit Lyme Disease. Tick-borne diseases cause symptoms ranging from swollen, painful joints to neurological symptoms or even death. Rare cases of tick paralysis have also been reported in dogs. Learn more about protecting your pet from Lyme Disease here. The sooner you locate these pesky parasites on your pup, the faster you can eliminate them and protect your dog from serious health issues, but remember prevention is the best protection!
Take Note of Your Dog’s Coat
If you notice your dog’s coat seems dull or dry, notice dandruff or even hair loss, these can all be a sign that something is not right. It could be a number of things from inadequate bathing and grooming to nutrient imbalance or a thyroid condition, but dog owners who have a regular grooming routine will know immediately whether a change in their pet’s coat means it’s time to see a vet. When you keep up on regular bathing and grooming you won’t have to second guess if your pet just needs a bath. Don't have a regular grooming routine or need some pet bathing tips? Check out our blog here.
Keeping up With Ear Care
When was the last time you cleaned your dog’s ears? If you can’t remember, or the answer is never, you are like many pet owners who tend to forget about the ears when it comes to grooming. Unfortunately, the ears make the perfect breeding ground for various nasties, making pet ear care extremely important. Adding ear care to your pet’s grooming routine is the best way to help ensure healthy ears and keep them safe from infections. Proper ear care will also keep you alert to symptoms that linger, and if you do suspect your dog has an ear infection it’s time to call a vet. Learn more about pet ear care here.
Doggy Dental Care
Unfortunately, many pet parents don’t notice a problem with their dog’s teeth until their pet is already in the later stages of a dental disease. These later stages can cause pain, gum inflammation, tooth loss and even organ disease when tartar, plaque and infection are swallowed. If you want to save your pet the pain as well as saving yourself a ton of money at the vet, follow these tips to practicing good doggy dental care, here.
Watch Your Dog’s Nose
Your dog’s nose can provide hints that can help you understand his/her needs better. Checking your dog’s nose should be a normal part of your at-home wellness exam. Getting acquainted with the look and shape of your pet’s nose when it’s healthy is important, because then you’ll be able to determine when a problem pops up and it becomes unhealthy. Learn more about symptoms to look for and how to help care for your dog’s nose, here.
Making Your Dog Comfortable
This may be the number one reason you will impress your vet. Some dogs are less than cooperative when it comes time to visit the vet, but when you establish regular routine grooming with your pup, he or she becomes comfortable with being touched and examined. Looking in ears and mouths, brushing hair and trimming nails help to desensitize dogs to the treatments they will receive at the vet. This will minimize fear, anxiety and aggression when it comes time for the exam. Making it safer and easier for both your vet and your pet!